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String Quartet No 5

By Donald Martino

String Quartet No 5
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String Quartet No 5 composed by Donald Martino (1931-2005). For Violin, Violin, Viola, Cello. This edition: Parts. Contemporary Classical. Conservatory. Sheet music. Published by Dantalian, Inc. (DA.DSE535A-D).

Donald Martino has produced five string quartets that pretty much span his career. Thirty years passed between the early quartets and number four which appeared in 1984 [for the Juilliard Quartet and recorded by them]; Saturday night [Jan 28] brought the premiere of the fifth, in a skilled and sympathetic performance by the Lydian String Quartet. The Pulitzer Prize-winning composer turns 74 this year, and has survived a series of illnesses that would have knocked the music out of most of the rest of us. Instead Martino continues regularly to compose works characterized by feeling, color, imagination and depth, all of it articulated by complex and impeccable workmanship. The Fifth Quartet begins with a solemn duet between violin and cello that soon draws the others into its sonorous discourse. The second movement begins in whizzing unisons, then pits pairs of instruments against each other in a fairly intricate game of tag. The third movement sounds like a kind of intricate reflection and development of the opening as the finale appears to be a more intricate reflection of the second. There is playfulness, edge, sensuousness and soulfulness in the piece. It was revealing to hear Op 131 [Beethoven] in the context of the Martino -- they begin in similar ways, move across contrasting emotional landscapes with similar fluidity, and accumulate internal memories they can relate to. - Boston Globe (2004, 20 minutes).

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